Wilford Horace Smith

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Smith around 1900

Wilford Horace Smith (April 1863 - June 9, 1926) was an American lawyer who specialized in constitutional law. He was the first African-American lawyer to win a case before the Supreme Court of the United States.[1]

Biography[change | change source]

Smith was born in April of 1863 in Mississippi.[2] His father was from Virginia and his mother from Kentucky.[3]

He attended Boston University School of Law and graduated in 1883. He married in 1895, and around the same year moved to Galveston, Texas to practice law. He moved to Manhattan, New York City by 1910.[4] He died on June 9, 1926, in Manhattan, New York City.[5]

Writings[change | change source]

  • Carter v. Texas (1900)
  • The Negro and the Law (1903)
  • Is the Negro Disfranchised?, The Outlook, April 29, 1905, pp. 1047-1048
  • The Negro's Right to Jury Representation (c. 1909)

References[change | change source]

  1. R. Volney Riser, Defying Disfranchisement: Black Voting Rights Activism in the Jim Crow South, 1890-1908 (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2010), p. 101
  2. R. Volney Riser uses the year 1860 in Defying Disfranchisement: Black Voting Rights Activism in the Jim Crow South, 1890-1908, however the 1900 and 1910 US census both use 1863 as the year of birth.
  3. "Wilford H. Smith in the 1900 United States Census living in Galveston, Texas". 1910. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
  4. Susan D. Carle (2013). Defining the Struggle: National Racial Justice Organizing, 1880-1915. ISBN 9780199945740.
  5. New York City Death Index